The author needs to develop an understanding of physics and how vast the Universe is, both in distance and time. You don't just randomly bump into people out in the great dark beyond like you might if you went to the market for cheerios and milk.
The amount of energy needed to accelerate a spacecraft to the velocities involved in the space battles far exceeds the energy output of nuclear warheads.
I was disappointed with how nuclear devices were used as a weapon system to produce an overpressure shock wave as if in an atmosphere to cause physical damage to spacecraft. Where are the bomb pumped x-ray lasers. How about a focused or directed electromagnetic pulse or a neutron bomb like weapon?
Kinetic energy is plenty to do the job if you seek to render spacecraft inoperable. Consider how dangerous even a cloud of sand would be when moving even at the slow velocities of spacecraft in planetary orbits, now adjust that for relativistic velocities.
I was disappointed with his use of an asteroid field. Please... A star system is a huge place to hide in, remember you do not have to remain in the plane of the ecliptic.
Torpedo tubes? Why not external or even internal hard points if stealth needs to be maintained. How about some variant of Metalstorm, a much more believable concept.
Antimatter reactor as power source for a spacecraft? Okay, why not antimatter particle beam weapons?
What kind of research scientist does NOT back up their data off site? No matter how paranoid they (or their government funders) are? They didn't build just ONE atom bomb with the Manhattan Project. That was a very weak plot device. I call B.S. on that one.
Probably, in spite of the requisite suspension of disbelief, it was a fun story.
Kudos for the different aliens with their different cultures and outlooks.
I really tried to like this book, but I just can't for several reasons.
1) The narration is getting on my nerves with mispronunciations of words, like "escape" pronounced as "exscape." That would be fine if it were the way a CHARACTER were to speak, but it isn't. It's the narrator.
2) The human culture, from what I have seen, which supposedly covers over seven hundred worlds seems to be singular and monolithic, instead of many different cultures which come from worlds of different ethnic backgrounds. That's the writer.
3) An event which happened two hundred years prior to the story, has way too much impact on current story events and the culture has not normalized in that long of a period, and over such a huge and dispersed population of human space. The gender population difference would normalize after one or two generations at most. The societal and economic collapse if almost half of the human population died in a short period of time would fracture any empire, creating many different cultures, not ONE. That's the writer.
4) The characters are not believable in their passivity, especially the ones with backgrounds in military service. More on the writer's doorstep.
5) The aliens are not believable, they are a weak rehash of Larry Niven's Kzinti. Not only that, but after twenty-five THOUSAND years of space travel, their technology is not orders of magnitude ahead of the human technology which is about only five hundred years in advance of our own. I would have to say it's pretty damn close in performance. One more to lay at the author's feet.
6) The characters are just plain dimwitted. You can drive a plot without relying on people being unintelligent. Not a single member of the crew (With how many years of combined experience in space?) thought to cycle the power on their drive system when it was not acting correctly. I thought of it as events were unfolding, and the physics of their engines was being explained. Just invent a PLAUSIBLE a limit on the technology. Something as simple as needing to warm up the vacuum tubes before the wireless starts receiving would reduce the suspension of disbelief! I don't think that their version of Windows never needs to be rebooted when it acts up... Come on Bennett, get it together.
Nothing by this author.
Different speech patterns, cadences, et cetera for the characters. Correct pronunciation (or different pronunciation) depending on the character who is talking. The narrator was getting there, but he didn't have a lot to work with.
The idea for this story was good, just poorly executed.
I wish I could return this book for whatever I paid for it. This story wasn't just plain vanilla, it was instant vanilla pudding.
I was disappointed by the lack of supporting information. Where is the evidence to support assertions regarding climate? Where is the data on dusts and pollens in lakebed muds and regional glaciers? Where is the supporting evidence in preserved woods from the regions?
Were there any economists involved or consulted in the research for this book, because economics were discussed. Extra-regional migrations or population shifts were hinted at, yet that was not discussed at length. If that is significant, it needs further research.
The author focuses on individual leaders/kings/envoys who are supposed to drive whole cultures and economies, and does not satisfactorily delve into the contributions of lesser individuals/groups/cultures/religions of an area which have a more significant impact on the flow of goods and services.
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